While some crops struggled earlier this year due to hot, dry weather, several crops now seem to be flourishing.
Aimee Rankin, an agent in horticulture and forestry at the Anson County Cooperative Extension Office, said that many crops now are doing well. “It was a little bit dry in the spring but not too bad,” she said. “Probably the crops that were hurt the most in late June were sweet corn, cucumbers and squash. Most of those crops were starting to peter out anyway, but the hot weather and dryness finished them off earlier.”
Harold Griffin at Wilhoit Produce attested to the earlier crop disappointment. “[It was hard] going from real hot and dry to real wet,” he said. “Seems like for a long time there the tomatoes were doing good and I use a sprinkler system and when I cut it off the weather, as hot as it was, [caused me to] throw bushels and bushels away. I lost a lot of tomatoes and our corn— basically everything it took its toll… There was a short usable period, which really affected how much you have to sell in the long run.
“Probably 50 percent was affected by the weather,” he said. “It wasn’t a good year, overall. Right now, with the weather as it is, a few things are starting to pick up— beans, peas, and whatnot.”
While crops such as tomatoes and corn may have been disappointing for some farmers, Rankin says that according to the beekeepers she’s talked to, nectar flows were only mildly affected this spring. “There are usually two nectar flows in the spring and fall, and this spring was good but because of dryness the nectar flow was shortened by a week, maybe a week and a half,” she said. “This year’s been a lot better than previous years, anyway,” Rankin said. “With all of the rain we’ve been having now the wildflowers have been able to persist longer than they normally would have and even now the fall blooms are showing up earlier, like goldenrod, and aster should show up soon. The honey bees are working on goldenrod now. Our fall honey flow should be good, unless we have a couple of heavy rains that wash them all away.”
Chesley Greene at Pee Dee Orchards said that while peach splitting due to heavy rains is a problem for peach growers, he’s pleased with his crops. “[When] hurricanes or something come through and they bring a bunch of water they burst the skin of the peaches,” he said. “Once the meat of them is exposed there’s no way to keep the rot from getting to it. We’ve got some really, really good peaches right now of two different varieties.” Some are slow to ripen, he said. “But they’re pretty peaches.”
The recent rains have especially benefited shiitake mushrooms, Rankin said. “We had a shiitake mushroom workshop in February and for the mushrooms to start flushing they need a lot of moisture,” she said. “I saw some workshops participants and they said that some of their mushrooms are starting to flush already, and that’s early.”